True Story: My Best Friend Committed Suicide

my best friend committed suicide, best friend commiting suicide, lost best friend to suicide 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ashleigh, born and bred in Wellington, New Zealand. I’m 18 years old and currently in my first year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, part of my plan to eventually become a doctor.
My best friend and I were together for a decent amount of the time we knew each other; we told each other everything. He was the sort of friend who, admittedly, would judge but ultimately, would listen. He was amazing and hugely impacted my life.

How did you meet your best friend?
I met my best friend at a friend’s birthday party at the beginning of 2007.
What was he like?
My first impression of him was not great, I found him to be rude and annoying. It was rather romcom-esque – the things you hate become things you love.
We ended up dating on and off through April this year, struggling to find a balance between our relationship and our friendship that worked for us. He was an absurdly intelligent man who wasn’t one for emotions. He would go off and read about things on the internet and spend ages telling me all these random facts. He also loved movies and quoted them at the most inappropriate times. He dropped out of high school in his last year, went on to a polytechnic and eventually (unsuccessfully) attempted university.
When did he start to struggle with depression?
When I met him, he had already suffered for depression for around three or four years. Throughout the three years that I knew him, it was an immense struggle for both of us.
I believe there were a few events that set it off: his parents divorce (a rather touchy subject), I had a miscarriage when we were dating, loss of a job he really liked and being arrested and charged with assaults against a female. (Our relationship got abusive towards the end, an incident one night resulted in his sister calling the police and he felt like everyone had betrayed him. I believe this was his ultimate downfall)
Overall though, maybe it was just the gradual build up of everything that made each and every new event that much harder to deal with.
About a year into our friendship, he pursued treatment . He had been on anti-depressants before I knew him but stopped taking them. It was a long struggle to find a right medication and dose for his needs. He was taking a combination of medications to deal with his depression, sleeping problems, and then ones to combat side effects from the meds.

He saw a psychiatrist a few times but felt it wasn’t beneficial because he didn’t want to talk about any of it.

Did he ever mention suicide? Were there warning signs?
There was constant talk of suicide for around a year when things were at their worst. He had attempted it once before, but he later told me it was a cry for attention. No one in his life could understand it. They thought he just needed to “man up” and do what needed to be done.

So yes, there were a lot of warning signs. He was severely depressed, it was something often mentioned. At one point I made him promise that if he ever got to the point where he wanted to, he could contact me. I was there for him no matter where he was or what was going on.

How did you find out that he died? What was your thought process when you heard that he was gone?
At about 7am on the day he did it, I woke up to someone knocking on my door. I remember instantly knowing what it was about.

Police had come to inform me of his death. I remember not being shocked, we weren’t legally allowed to talk or see each other but we had been communicating and I knew something wasn’t right. I don’t think there was really a lot in regards to cohesive thinking. I don’t think, even 2 months later, that I completely comprehend that he no longer physically exists.
How did the people in his life react to his death?
It happened early June this year, and people in his life are definitely still struggling, I think others are coming to terms with it a lot faster than I am.

I think people were a lot more shocked by it than I was. His funeral had an amazing turnout, and the way people spoke about him was absolutely beautiful. He is sorely missed by all of them.

How have you coped with his death?
I’ve really just tried to lock it away, I suffer from depression and pretty bad anxiety myself, and I’ve only just managed to get my life back on track. I guess I’m scared to deal with the pain and the loss. It’s hard. It’s not something you’re ever taught how to deal with.

I haven’t removed him from my phone or facebook or msn. I’m not ready for him to not exist. I loved him a great deal and he was one of the most amazing people anyone could ever know.

Has his death affected the way you feel about depression and suicide?
It has made me angry at the lack of support there was for him throughout his struggle and it has made me realize that suicide is never the answer, it’s not for the best.

Most importantly, it’s made me realize how important it is to take these people seriously. Depression is not just having a bad day, it’s a crippling mental disease which a lot of people can’t comprehend.

What advice would you give to someone who has a friend struggling with these issues?
It’s so important to make sure they’re on medication (if that’s what they believe in), that they see a professional. Make sure you don’t try and become their sole caregiver, it will only drag you down.

Everyone goes through depression differently, but a lot of the time, people think that the sufferer is just being lazy. Try and understand how serious it is, and try and think about how what you’re doing might be interpreted by someone who thinks so negatively. Never treat them like they’re a child and incapable, it’ll only reinforce their feelings of hopelessness.
Someone in this situation can never have enough help. They need strong, stable support groups that they know they can trust and rely on.

Have any of you lost someone to suicide? Any questions for Ashleigh?

P.S. Other True Stories about loss: My husband died of a brain tumor at 36 & I helped my friend die peacefully.

photo by noah silliman // cc

8 Comments

Georgie

I would say that at the end of the day, it is ultimately the person's own choice to take their life or not. Of course there are a multitude of reason's as to why a person might want to take their life, but despite those reasons, it is still their decision. It is not anybody else's "fault" when someone takes their own life because even with "reasons" to take your own life, it comes down to the individual's decision to do it or not. So I would say, that if you've lost someone to suicide, please, please, please do not blame yourself.

It's true that no one is perfect and maybe you weren't so nice at times, and perhaps you feel as if you should have "done more", but that does not mean that it's your fault. I believe in most cases it would have still come down to a choice, the choice to do it or to not, to live or to die, which is a choice that involves so many threads and tangents that blame cannot rest on one thing alone.

Like it was said in the post: "…maybe it was just the gradual build up of everything…" – the choice to end one's life is scarcely the result of one remote thing, so you can't really put the blame on one person or incident. Which I know makes it really hard to deal with a lot of the time, but it's true!

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Holley

This post definitely touches me, and I also lost my best friend to an accident.
I say accident because no one will ever know whether his death was accidental or on purpose. He was depressed, and had been for a long time, so I can't rule out the possibility that it wasnt an accident.
It's been 6 years (March 3rd) and I still am not over it.
And I still blame myself. I cant get past it. I can reason with myself, but I can't say with all honestly that there was nothing I could do.
Thanks for sharing your story. Sending you love.
holley.

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kat

Thank you for this post. Personally I do not know whether suicide is right or wrong. It is so complex, each case, and can not be attributed to one event or reason, but a plethora of details surrounding the person's entire life.

This is definiely a subject which needs to be addressed. Social stigma of Depression and Mental Health problems needs to be stamped out.

All the best to Ashleigh.

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Miss Sofia

My best friend has also committed suicide. It's been almost two years since her death, and we weren't really that close anymore for the year before she died, but it still pains me. There's always that feeling that you could have done something, that maybe you should have been nicer or helped more. But, ultimately, you need to let go of that strange guilt. I had to.

And I agree on the importance of learning to deal with depression as an actual serious condition and not acting patronizing when talking to a friend who's depressed.

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Insomniac Lab Rat

My heart goes out to Ashleigh and anyone else here who has lost a loved one, particularly to suicide.

My best friend attempted suicide twice while we were living together in college, and those were two of the hardest times of my life. I can completely relate to the guilt that the other commenters have touched on- each time, I thought there must have been something I could have done, and she wouldn't have tried to end her life.

I came to understand that while friends can help, depression isn't something you can completely ward off with friendship.

This is a very difficult issue. I sometimes worry about her (I live across the country now). When she seems down, I have flashbacks to cleaning up the mess after the 2nd attempt while we lived together.

But you (nor I) are not at fault. It's depression, and the little things building up, like others have said. But it is not your fault as the friend.

My love, prayers, and best wishes go out to all of you.

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Kelsi

I lost a fired to suicide four years ago. All his life he had struggled with depression, even suffering massive night terrors as a little boy. His parents have been so strong in telling his story, not afraid to let others know how he died and that the battle against depression is very real.

Of course, I wish I would have called him all those times I thought to but never "got around to it," thinking that even if I didn't pick up on any hints of what was to come, that at least I could talk to him one last time. I remember being angry with him, knowing I would have to forgive this void he left behind… but he really was so strong. There is nothing anyone could have done. I miss him dearly.

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Eddie

My best friend committed suicide this week. I am having a very hard time dealing with it. She suffered from depression before, but the last few years she seemed better then ever. The last few times I saw her she was the happiest I ever seen her, and then I get a call that her sister found her and she was gone. Im heartbroken.

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Anonymous

My best friend committed suicide almost a year ago. It didn't seem like there were warning signs, nothing obvious anyway. Now that I think back on it there were lots of red flags. Hind sight is always 20/20, right? She never really talked about not feeling OK, and by the time we knew, it was because it's too late. It's been a hard year, still is hard. The pain is still there, I've just learned how to deal with it, or live with it. It does get easier, but there are wounds that can never heal. I watched a TV show recently and one of the pivotal characters unexpectedly committed suicide. I think I had a panic attack. I had spent so much energy not thinking about it, it caught me completely by surprise and sent me spiraling back through the still present pain and memories. It does get better though, I don't want to banish her from my mind, or memories, so I don't. When I think about her I try to focus on all of the good memories we have as opposed to the manner in which she was lost. Life we never be the same, but we can never, never, never give up.

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